Best Scottish phrase

PEELY WALLY The national skin tone of the Scots, a race who are rarely exposed to direct sunlight. Or, what your granny says you are if you're looking under the weather.

HAUD YER WHEESHT An evocative way of saying 'Ssshh!', which is favoured by Granny Island in the Katie Morag books of Mairi Hedderwick.

LANG MAY YER LUM REEK Sounds like it might mean something rather rude, but it doesn't – actually means 'Long may your chimney burn', meaning 'long may you live'.

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FIT LIKE? Anyone's who's ever visited the Granite City of Aberdeen will be well acquainted with this classic Doric greeting.

NE'ER CAST A CLOOT TIL MAY IS OOT An expression closely linked to Scotland's famously poor weather. Means, roughly, "Don't start taking off layers of clothes until the May flower blooms." (because it will be bloody chilly until then, one assumes)


"Here's to us; who is as good as us? Damn few, and they're all dead" – a classic, traditional Scottish toast showing drunken sentimentality at its very best.

MEBBES AYE, MEBBES NAW The northern version of Vicky Pollard's sitting-on-the-fence (usually smoking a fag) classic 'Yeah… but… no… but.'

THE BEST LAID SCHEMES O' MICE AN' MEN GANG AFT A-GLEY Burns is often misquoted with people preferring "The best laid schemes of mice and men often go astray" meaning even the most thought out projects don't always go to plan.

NAE USE TAE MAN NOR BEAST Absolutely useless – about as good as a chocolate teapot or chocolate fireguard.

AH DINNAE KEN "I'm dreadfully sorry, sir, but I have no idea what you might be talking about."